The OC Blog Back Issues Our Mission Contact Us Masthead
Sudsy Wants You to Join the Oregon Commentator

Media Meddling: The New Game at OSPIRG

Lauren Fox, along with a cavalcade of contributors (myself amongst them, though my role was fairly minor) from J483/583, penned a lengthy discussion of our old friends at OSPIRG in today’s Oregon Daily Emerald. What should really be noted is the story behind the story. During the day on Wednesday, a couple of high-profile OSPIRG supporters came out of the proverbial woodwork to express their dissatisfaction with the piece.

According to Emerald Editor in Chief Nora Simon, OSPIRG Chapter Chair Charles Denson paid her a visit to her office at about 2 PM Wednesday expressing concerns about his quotes in the story. Denson explained that one of the students in the class had told him that the material was for a class project and would not be published elsewhere. He said that he thought his comments were “too frank” for wider publication. Simon said that while he did not make any requests, she felt that there was a tacit implication in the conversation that he did not want the Emerald to run the story.

Later on Wednesday, former ASUO Political Director Robert D’Andrea visited Fox. According to Fox, he stood next to her desk until she engaged him. They then retired to the Editor-in-Chief’s office, where D’Andrea reiterated Denson’s concerns about the piece. D’Andrea, like Denson, did not explicitly state that he wanted the Emerald to not run the story, and Fox described their conversation as “very friendly.” At the conclusion of their discussion, Fox asked D’Andrea if he was involved in OSPIRG. Fox said that D’Andrea replied by saying “How do you define being involved in OSPIRG?”

Fox brought these concerns to the class on Thursday and each student involved in the story indicated that, though they had indicated that the project was for class, they never promised that the material would not be published.

So the real question is this: Why are the head of OSPIRG and a former high ranking ASUO official, who is still thought to be actively involved in the current administration and will not confirm his involvement in OSPIRG, trying to influence the operations and editorial policy of the Oregon Daily Emerald?

  1. Rockne Andrew Roll says:

    @Curtis: because instead of happening after the fact, which is normal and legit, this happened before the story ran and was an attempt to keep the story from running, or so Nora Simon perceived it, which (having been an editor before) is good enough for me.

  2. Curtis says:

    “Why are the head of OSPIRG and a former high ranking ASUO official, who is still thought to be actively involved in the current administration and will not confirm his involvement in OSPIRG, trying to influence the operations and editorial policy of the Oregon Daily Emerald?”

    1. He likely asked that question because being “involved” in OSPIRG is a pretty fluid definition. Does it mean going to meetings? Does it mean helping them get funding? Does it mean being a paid organizer or leading a campaign? The nature of OSPIRG on campus is such that many people are supporters without actively being part of the organizational structure. I think the question was less evasive than you’re trying to make it sound – anyone who spends anytime on campus knows that RDA and most of the current ASUO Exec support OSPIRG funding in both theory and actions.

    2. As vaunted and hallowed as you seem to perceive the operations and editorial policy of the Oregon Daily Emerald, things like this happen ALL THE TIME. It might shock your sensitivities to know that politically-involved students sometimes bring complaints to the ODE Editorial Board, but this is not exactly groundbreaking news. When the ODE prints something that is unfair, misinformed or inaccurate (IE every time they produce a new issue), it’s pretty much SOP for the affected party to air their grievances. The answer to your question is “Because they disagree with the ODE and wanted to let it be known” – you know, like most groups would.

    My question is why are you pretending this is a big deal?

  3. Orev says:

    You mean the Lepre-wookie (Denson) is back at it? We don’t need to de-fund them, we just need to keep them zero funded. G-dforbid the enter the budget process like a program, starting with transparency and spending kept on campus.

  4. It's Me says:

    In the first article about Robert being the Political Director, it said he was a SOPHOMORE. That wierd creep has been around for at-least 5 years already. Does being a rude jerk who wears ugly sweaters qualify you as a non-traditional student?

  5. J Dawg says:

    Athan Papailiou = Robert D’Andrea’s wet dream

  6. Heh. says:

    Since when has anyone taken Robert D’Andrea for anything more than a diseased little hunchback with delusions of being some sort of Machiavellian strategist? Why people insist on taking anything that comes out of his mouth any more seriously than one would the usual sort of risible slop one hears from any other undergraduate with an over-inflated opinion of their own intellect, I’ll never understand.

    The guy’s a legend in his own mind, I guess, but I’m not sure why anyone else should treat his clumsy meddlings as such.

  7. JMB says:

    Do people like Denson and D’Andrea actually attend classes at the university?

  8. Kenny Ocker says:

    Ellie, there were additional interviews done by the Emerald apart from the ones done for the journalism class that were used in the story. That would be my guess as to how Denson knew about the story before it was published.

  9. Ellie Macallan says:

    ….because interviewing someone under the pretense that “it’s for class” and then publishing them doesn’t push the bounds of ethics…?
    On another note, I’d really like to know how Mr. Denson knew about the ODE article before it was published….

  10. CJ says:

    Good to see you still skulking around, Robert. 😉

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.